- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
Luxembourg royals tie knot in religious ceremony
Question of the Day
LUXEMBOURG (AP) - Under a canopy of soldiers' drawn swords as church bells tolled, Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and Belgian Countess Stephanie de Lannoy emerged smiling Saturday from the tiny duchy's Notre Dame Cathedral after wrapping up a two-day wedding gala with a religious ceremony.
Onlookers and well-wishers lined the super-scrubbed streets near the cathedral and roared with joy as the newlyweds looked down from a red velvet-covered palace balcony, and haltingly _ but deeply _ kissed for the crowd.
The church wedding of Prince Guillaume _ the 30-year-old heir to the throne and Luxembourg's grand duke-to-be _ and the Belgian countess drew top-drawer guest list. It came a day after a civil ceremony at Luxembourg City Hall.
The bearded groom and his 28-year-old blonde bride were trailed by a procession of well-known royals, including Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, Prince Naruhito of Japan, and Britain's Prince Edward _ Queen Elizabeth's youngest child _ and his wife, Sophie.
Stephanie plans to renounce her Belgian citizenship in order to _ one day _ become Luxembourg's grand duchess. The tiny country wedged between France, Belgium and Germany is an important financial center and continues to prosper despite Europe's economic trouble.
Stephanie wore a lace Elie Saab dress with a 5-meter-long wedding train during the ceremony, which was conducted in a mixture of French, German and Luxembourgish. It began with a minute's silence to honor her late mother, Countess Alix de Lannoy.
For the wedding banquet attended by 800 people, Bocuse d'Or-winning chef Lea Linster _ herself from Luxembourg _ whipped up a buffet medley including Riesling-marinated pork and veal pate, lobster in gelee consomme, and sea bass in salted crust and thyme stuffing; dessert included Madeleine cakes, choux a la creme pastries, and creme brulee.
Later in the evening, the royal couple walked through town, shaking hands with well-wishers before a fireworks show. Afterward, they drove off in a limousine with a sign on the back that read "Just Married" in Luxembourgish.
The nuptials gave tiny Luxembourg _ a founding member of the predecessor of the European Union _ a rare moment in the international media spotlight. With a population of just over 500,000, the trilingual duchy punches above its weight: Besides being an important financial center, it's home to the world's largest steel manufacturer and it boasts the second-highest gross domestic product per capita in the world, more than $80,000.
Luxembourg began as a Roman fortress. It has, at one time or another, fallen under the control of Spain, France and Austria. In 1839, it gained its independence from the Netherlands, but lost more than half its territory to Belgium. Germany overran Luxembourg twice in the 20th century despite its protests of neutrality.
The current grand duke, Henri, who is 57, is popular. People can greet him on the street without bowing down before him. His 31-year marriage to Grand Duchess Maria Teresa appears to be very happy.
The newlyweds seem to be happy too: In public appearances, including at the London Olympics, they have appeared besotted with each other.
After watching the ceremony on a big-screen on a public square near the cathedral, royal-gazing fans sensed the joy and historical importance.
"It was a really big moment _ a really beautiful moment," said Claudine Als, clutching a glass of Champagne, seemingly awaiting a toast. "It is a historic day for Luxembourg, the country shines throughout the world."
TWT Video Picks
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- Bush fixed bowling lanes that Obama wants to renovate
- Amid border crisis, Obama to take 15-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard
- Eric Holder on Palin: 'She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate'
- KISS rocker Gene Simmons touts 1 percent life: 'It's fantastic'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs